(WBIR-Knoxville) More big changes are coming to the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville.
UT announced Thursday that it is moving forward with plans to demolish Stokely Athletics Center and Gibbs Hall to make way for a new parking garage, residence hall and dining facility, and the expansion of the football practice fields.
State officials approved the plans this week, and work can now begin early next year.
The administration hopes to have Stokely and Gibbs demolished by next summer. The next goal is get a 1,000–space parking garage built along Volunteer Boulevard by summer 2015. The project is estimated to cost $24.4 million and will be paid for by parking fees and the issuance of revenue bonds through the State School Bond Authority.
Next, a new residence hall will be built on the east side of the site, near the current Gibbs Hall location. It will feature 600 beds in single-occupancy rooms with shared living areas. The 33,000-square-foot residence hall will be open to male and female students. The hall's dining facility will be open to all students, faculty and staff, which also addresses the need for additional dining options in that area of campus. The residence hall is expected to open by summer 2016. It's estimated to cost $64.3 million, with the money coming from student housing fees and revenue bonds.
Finally, in summer 2016, the university plans to expand Haslam Field to add more football practice areas. When its finished, the facility will have three full-size exterior grass outdoor practice fields along with the nearby indoor full-size practice field. This project is estimated to cost $10 million and will be funded solely by a private donor.
Stokely Athletic Center was built in 1958 and closed for good in December 2012. Memorabilia from its decades as home of the Volunteer men's and women's basketball teams is stored in other areas of campus.
Gibbs Hall, which was built in 1963, is currently unoccupied.